Charity sites fare poorly in accessibility rankings

John Plummer

Charity websites are among the worst in Britain at catering for the needs of disabled people, according to a survey.

Nine out of ten sites failed to gain the minimum three-star mark for accessibility in a study by the charity AbilityNet.

The results are presented alongside those of earlier surveys of other sectors (see table). Only Premiership football club websites ranked lower.

AbilityNet checked sites belonging to the five biggest charities and five others selected at random. Cancer Research UK achieved the minimum standard with three stars out of five.

The National Trust was awarded two stars, and Oxfam, the British Heart Foundation and the RNLI received only one each. AbilityNet awarded marks according to how easy sites are to use for the visually impaired, dyslexics and physically handicapped people.

"These results are of great concern," said Robin Christopherson, web consultancy manager at AbilityNet. "There is now almost universal awareness of the issues, but it may be that charities feel less able to identify the skills and resources required."

Many charities lost marks for having small text that couldn't be enlarged.

Oxfam's pop-up images and moving images were criticised for potentially causing problems for people with cognitive or visual impairments.

Christopherson said it typically cost charities between 2 and 5 per cent extra to make websites more accessible.

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